This is an attempt to produce a semi-fictionalised illustrated book on the arrival and absorption of predominantly working-class Goans into the growing city of Bombay in the 19th century. It draws on the variety of criminalised representations of these groups available in police reports, government correspondence between Bombay and Goa, and the disparaging writings of the Goan elite. In contrast to these, is the wide range of print generated by the newly solvent migrants, which is more evocative of their encounter with the city, and the ways in which they inhabited and transformed its geography. Goan migrants who constituted nearly ten percent of the population of Goa by the end of the 19th century, were not merely absorbed into a homogenising urban machine. Their institutions and practices in fact were and are a distinct element of Bombay's urban culture. Their volatile newspapers, cookbooks, hymnbooks and popular novels are evidence of a sophisticated acclimitisation process through which migrants from scarcely monetised villages in Goa were eased through structures which prepared them to appear as salaried and wage labour in Bombay's offices, restaurants, and dockyards.
The narrative in English will weave together excerpts from advertisements, newspaper articles, novels, poems, and hymnbooks into a narrative. The primary intention in producing a fictionalised form of these accounts is to engage the interest of a wider audience particulary within Goa and Bombay in texts and in the significance of this historical moment which are never otherwise considered a part of literary or print history, and are therefore still not fully a part of a shared legacy. A secondary aim is to bolster an appeal for the preservation of newsprint and popular books produced by Goans through the 19th and early 20th twentieth century. These are valuable resources which are in a state of neglect and may soon be entirely unavailable to the Goan public.